Colorectal cancer isdiagnosed in more than 130,000 men and women each year in the U.S. but
when diagnosed early, survival rates are very good.
Finding colon cancer early is the key to beating it, says gastroenterologist
Dr. Andrew Gentry of Bozeman Health GI Clinic. With early detection through
screenings; surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy can be effective treatments.
That’s why Gentry recommends regular colon cancer screenings, including
a yearly test that checks for invisible blood in the stool, or a colonoscopy.
This exam allows your doctor to look inside the colon via a thin scope
to see if polyps have formed, which then can be removed and tested for
cancer. Most patients should have a colonoscopy every ten years beginning
at age 50, unless they are at a higher risk for colon cancer.
Take steps to dramatically lower your odds of getting the disease. Eat
a nutritious diet, exercise, and control your body fat. Those habits prevent
45% of colorectal cancers. The American Cancer Society recommends a diet
heavy on fruits and vegetables, light on processed and red meat, and with
whole grains instead of refined grains.
Adults who stay active seem to have a powerful weapon against colorectal
cancer. In one study, the most active people were 24% less likely to have
the disease than the least active. It didn't matter whether what they
did was work or play. The American Cancer Society recommends exercising
5 or more days a week for at least 30 minutes a day. Vigorous exercise
gives you even more benefits in less time -- 20 minutes, 3 or 4 days a week.